Skip to main content

Full text of "A story about a real man"

See other formats


A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN                                                                   299
tifications of the Soviet troops with all the artillery they
had accumulated here in the course of the spring, A red,
quivering glare rose high in the sky over the fortified
area. Explosions blotted out everything like a dense forest
of black trees that sprang up every instant. Even when
the sun rose darkness prevailed. It was difficult to distin-
guish anything in the droning, roaring, quivering gloom,
and the sun was suspended in the sky like a dim, grimy-red
pancake.
The reconnaissance flights the Soviet aircraft had made
over the German positions a month before had not been in
vain. The intentions of the German Command were dis-
closed; its positions and points of concentration were
plotted on the map and studied square by square. The
Germans, as was their habit, thought that they woold be
able to plunge their dagger with all their might into the
back of their sleeping and unsuspecting foe; but the foe
only pretended to be. asleep. He caught the assailant's
arm and crushed it in his steel-like, powerful grip. Before
the roar of the artillery preparation that raged on a front
of several tens of kilometres died down, the Germans,
deafened by the thunder of their own batteries and blind-
ed by the gun-powder smoke that enveloped their positions,
saw the red balls of the explosions in their own trenches.
The marksmanship of the Soviet artillery was per-
fect, and it aimed not at squares, as the Germans had
done, but at definite targets, batteries, concentrations of
tanks and infantry already drawn up on the line of attack,
at bridges, underground ammunition dumps, blindages
and command posts.
The German artillery preparation developed into a
terrific artillery duel in which tens of thousands of guns
of the most diverse calibres participated on both sides.
When the planes of Captain Cheslov's squadron landed 10
the new airfield, the ground was quaking, and the roar
of explosions merged into a continuous, mighty roar, as
if an endless train were on a railway bridge, hooting aad
rattling and clanging, and never crossing it. The entire
horizon was blotted out by voluminous, rolling smoke.
Over the small wing airfield came wave after wave of
bombers, some in goose, some in stork and some in open
formation, and the dull thuds of their exploding bombs